For many, eating decadent treats like donuts or a salty feast of burgers and fries might be a dream job. But for Cal State San Marcos graduate Erik Lamkin, it’s become a reality.
Lamkin, known to his fans as “Erik the Electric,” has become a fast-growing YouTube sensation who conquers weekly food challenges on camera. His following has grown to more than 1 million followers in just a few, short years.
Lamkin, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications in 2017, said it all began six years ago when he took on a food challenge at the San Diego-based franchise Broken Yolk.
“The Broken Yolk has a food challenge that I had seen on the TV show, ‘Man v. Food,’ and I had always wanted to take on the challenge,” Lamkin said. “I ended up not only beating the challenge, but I ended up setting the record at that location. The manager was so impressed that he actually offered me a job moments after I did the challenge.”
From there, Lamkin took his new-found talent as an extreme eater to the next level by developing a YouTube channel while a student at Cal State San Marcos.
“I always found eating challenges and competitive eating to be fascinating,” Lamkin said. “I knew I had an abnormally large appetite, but I never knew how fun and interesting they were until I did my first few challenges.”
So far, Lamkin’s biggest challenge has been consuming 100,000 calories. That video alone garnered a whopping 8 million views.
Lamkin’s extreme eating challenges may seen as an unhealthy way of living, but he said he maintains a healthy lifestyle outside of YouTube.
“I’m a cyclist and powerlifter, which means I’m in the gym for two hours a day,” Lamkin said. “This also means I can prime my appetite before challenges. I also eat extremely healthy outside of my challenges. The reality is if you keep an active and ‘healthy’ lifestyle… one day out of the week where you eat a large amount of food, shouldn’t make too much of a difference.”
Kristie Higgs, Lamkin’s longtime girlfriend, has also taken a role in his career as a YouTube celebrity. She said she often helps with filming or providing support such as giving him water and napkins during a food challenge.
Higgs said she’s been in awe by his talent as an entertainer.
“Erik is an incredible entertainer,” Higgs said. “Not only is he amazing at eating, he is incredible on camera, being engaging with his audience, and creating content we want to watch over and over.”
Lamkin said his status as a YouTube star is just the first step in his career.
“I’m hoping to one day accomplish my dream which is to have my own TV show,” Lamkin said.
For more information about Erik Lamkin or to follow him, go to www.youtube.com/ErikTheElectric.